Leonard Cohen’s ‘Who By Fire‘ was featured on the FX series ‘The Americans‘ last week (Wednesday, 8th June, 2016 — Season 4, Episode 13 — “Persona Non Grata“).
The track is from Cohen’s album New Skin For The Old Ceremony, and has a distinct Israeli feel to it, which is not surprising as the song is based on the music from a prayer said every year on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of Atonement.
As for the meaning of ‘Who By Fire’? According to Cohen, the lyrics of the song are about the many ways people die:
“And who by fire, who by water
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial
Who in your merry merry month of May
Who by very slow decay“.
Listen to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Who By Fire‘ in the video below.